The moment Canada's underdog hurdler Priscilla Lopes-Schliep crossed the finish line to snatch Olympic bronze in Beijing yesterday, Dwayne De Rosario was overcome with pride.
Having accrued 49 caps with Canada's national soccer team, De Rosario knows how it feels to thrust your chest out whenever you glance down at that red-and-white maple leaf on your jersey.
The moment proved extra special for De Rosario as he sat halfway across the world watching on TV as Lopes-Schliep celebrated her performance by draping a huge Canadian flag over her back.
Lopes-Schliep, you see, is De Rosario's first cousin, the Canadian midfielder revealed yesterday after the team's mid-day workout.
"I'm so proud of her," De Rosario said. "It's already been a great week for the family. Hopefully, I can cap it off and make it a better one."
In order to do that, the Scarborough native will be looking for some of his cousin's Olympic karma to rub off when he leads 79th-ranked Canada against 108th-ranked Jamaica tonight at BMO Field in its third-round World Cup qualifying match.
It's the first of six matches Canada will play in this round.
De Rosario, who plays for Houston of the MLS, is buoyed by the success he enjoyed in his previous game at BMO Field. About four weeks ago, De Rosario drilled home a penalty kick for the game winner in a 3-2 victory by the MLS all-stars over visiting West Ham United of the English Premier League.
Asked what he would like to carry over from the all-star game, De Rosario, 30, replied: "A game winner again."
If you detect a sense of confidence among De Rosario and his teammates, you'd be right.
With 1986 marking Canada's only previous World Cup appearance, many experts are calling this team the most talented this country has fielded. It is a sentiment shared by many of the players.
"I expect to qualify," De Rosario said. "I would be very disappointed if we don't."
Coach Dale Mitchell, a member of that '86 World Cup team that went winless in Mexico, will not announce his starting lineup until today. That includes in goal, where Greg Sutton and Pat Onstad are vying for the job.
"We have to take care of business at home," Sutton said. "If we do that, we can go on the road and try to steal something."
Should Canada need additional inspiration, maybe Mitchell might try showing the team a video of Lopes-Schliep's memorable performance. De Rosario certainly would not object.